With the addition of two new teams to the conference who also just so happen to be in the Top 15 of most preseason polls, coupled with the already stout Big 12 it would appear there could be a number of quality games within the conference schedule. Prior to any team even having started summer/fall practices, any number of things could change causing a game that looks incredibly appealing today to be considerably less so three or months from now. But why let something like details get in the way of premature speculation?
With six of the league's ten teams almost universally ranked in the preseason Top 25 polls, the conference schedule will not be a cake walk for any team. New arrivals, West Virginia and TCU will certainly not be easy destinations for visiting squads and the rest of the Big 12 are all to familiar with places like Lubbock and Ames.
So with that, we'll run down some of the candidates (by team) for the league's top game/s and let you all sort it out in the comments.
* Baylor - (None) No disrespect, but given what the Bears lost expectations need to be adjusted. Maybe they prove the doubters wrong for a second year in a row, but the task will be considerably more difficult without the likes of Robert Griffin, Kendall Wright, and Terrence Ganaway among others.
* Iowa State - (vs. Oklahoma) The Clones shocked the world last year beating Oklahoma State in Ames and the Sooners will come to town the week after the Notre Dame game in what could be a real letdown spot. Can lightning strike twice? We here at CCM are all big fans of Paul Rhoads.
* Kansas - (None) Um, yeah, moving on.
* Kansas State - (@ Oklahoma, @ West Virginia, @ TCU, vs. Texas) Bill Snyder is going to have to work some magic yet again with the schedule his Wildcats are facing in 2012. They have some really tough road games and Texas fan is haunted in their dreams by the Purple Kansas.
* Oklahoma - (vs. K-State, vs. Texas, @ West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State, @ TCU) Talk about some tough road games. The Sooners were done no favors in having to travel to both of the Big 12's new additions, but that's how the cookie crumbles. It remains to be seen with Bedlam, whether OSU is truly reloading (as they'd like to claim) or simply rebuilding (more likely). Dallas is Dallas, we don't have to tell any of you that.
* Oklahoma State - (vs. Texas, vs. West Virginia, @ Oklahoma) Outside of Baylor, there is a pretty strong argument that no other team lost as much as the Cowboys. They took advantage of a bonus Bedlam year in Stillwater, given the result the Sooners just might be looking to exact some revenge this year.
* Texas Christian - (@ West Virginia, @ Texas, vs. Oklahoma) The offseason has not been kind to the Horned Frogs. They've suffered a number of significant losses and could have gone from a possible conference favorite to a middle of the pack team or even worse. That said, doubt Gary Patterson teams at your own risk.
* Texas - (@ Okie State, vs. WVU, vs. Oklahoma, @ K-State) Texas is a tough team to project at this point. The defense could be scary good, but the offense is a major question mark at this point. They could just as easily win the league as finish fourth. If their offense is even moderately competent, they could be a big problem for the rest of this league.
* Texas Tech - (vs. Oklahoma) Really tempted to go with "none" here, but after last year's debacle can any OU fan ever doubt Tech again?
* West Virginia - (@ Texas, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma) On paper, WVU looks to be a good fit for this league. Explosive offense, suspect defense. That trip to Morgantown should scare the bejeezus out of OU fans.
So, what say you?